What Have I Been Up To Lately?
People are always asking me what I’m up to, so I thought I’d go ahead and share with everyone! My latest adventure is a studio photography class and I LOVE it—especially styling the shots! While I admit I’m definitely NOT an expert, I have come a long way from where I was just a few months ago so I thought I’d share a few tips!
What or who is the hero of the shot?
In most shots you will want to emphasize the main subject. This is your hero and all the other items in the scene are only there to support it. In the photo above, the lemon bars are clearly the hero and are placed in the foreground to emphasize their importance.
Create depth in your photos by placing elements in the foreground, mid-ground, and background.
Styling (my favorite part!)
Choose lots of props. The more props you have, the more options for a variety of shots. Also, make sure the props support your theme so the final photo makes sense. For example, if you are shooting a brandy decanter, it wouldn’t make sense to style it with lemons, straws, and tumblers because that isn’t what is usually used for drinks containing brandy.
Choose lights that are best for your theme and subject. A soft box will create a soft diffused light whereas other lights produce harsher light on your subject. You may want to use multiple lights if something needs to be highlighted. If areas of your set seem dark, use a white matte board or mirror to reflect light from your main light source onto areas you want to brighten. Another trick is to use a flashlight in areas where you need more light. For the lemon bar photos above, I used a softbox on the right side of my set. I placed a large white board on the left and used a flashlight directly on the lemon bars and lemons.
Use Photoshop for further adjustments to your photos. I tend to select various areas of the photo and adjust either the levels, the hue, or the curves.
Tip for food shots
The point is to make it look delicious! If you don’t want to eat it after seeing the photo, then you probably need to adjust something. With that said, hopefully you want to eat a lemon bar! I realize I’ve only covered the very basics, so what additional tips would you suggest?
Oh, and just in case you want to make some lemon bars (they are super good!), here is the recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and recipes for easy parties that are really fun.
LEMON BAR RECIPE
½ lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides. Chill (I chilled it for about 30 minutes).
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioner’s sugar.